Mission Pharmacal renews support for March of Dimes event
SAN ANTONIO — Drug maker Mission Pharmacal has raised nearly $850,000 for the March of Dimes since it began supporting the group, the company said, marking its fourth year of support for the organization.
The organization was originally founded in 1938 by president Franklin D. Roosevelt to help fight polio, but shifted its focus to care for expectant mothers and babies after the polio epidemic ended. Mission said one key element of its support role was as a national sponsor of March for Babies, the group’s main fundraising event. Employees of the company work for the event by volunteering to staff tables and provide information, as well as by raising funding through more than 15,000 obstetrician-gynecologist offices. The events will mostly take place later this month and next month in hundreds of communities across the country.
"No other organization has played a bigger role in the health of America’s babies and families than the March of Dimes," Mission VP marketing Natalie Sirjuesingh said. "More than 4 million babies were born in the United States, and the March of Dimes helped each and every one through 75 years of research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs."
Mission said its employees would staff information booths at March for Babies walks in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, New York, Durham, N.C., Newtown, Pa., and Davie, Fla., while also providing information about products like the CitraNatal line of prenatal vitamins and Dr. Smith’s Diaper Rash ointment.
Reports: University of Utah opens pharmacy education, research center
NEW YORK — The University of Utah’s College of Pharmacy has opened a new research organization designed to encourage collaboration and interaction, according to published reports.
The Salt Lake City-based Deseret News reported on the opening of the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Institute, a 150,000-sq.-ft. facility that includes open lab space.
The facility is named for benefactor Leonard Samuel Skaggs, a Utah businessman and philanthropist who died of natural causes on March 21 at the age of 89 years and whose ALSAM Foundation donated more than $50 million of the institute’s total cost of $75 million. Skaggs toured the facility days before he died.
Skaggs inherited his father’s 11 drug stores in 1949 and grew the business to include 202 stores and 39 supercenters in 21 states, according to the newspaper. That business eventually grew into American Stores, which included Safeway, Albertsons, Alpha Beta, Longs Drugs, Payless Drug Stores and others. Rite Aid acquired Payless in 1996, while CVS Caremark acquired Longs in 2008.
NACDS, NCPA oppose pursuing new Medicaid cuts, urge completion of current rulemaking
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A proposal to further reduce Medicaid drug reimbursement that was included in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget plan is “premature” and federal Medicaid officials should focus on modifying and completing already proposed regulations to set future federal upper limits for reimbursement of most generic drugs, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association argued on Friday.
The trade groups sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicaid at the federal level. In it, they outlined concerns with a proposal to further reduce Medicaid drug reimbursement that was included in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget plan.
“While the goal of this provision may be to decrease Medicaid costs, we believe it may in fact reduce access to prescription drugs and pharmacy services for Medicaid patients, resulting in increased overall healthcare expenditures,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey in their letter.
The groups called the new proposal “premature” because CMS has not yet completed its ongoing rulemaking process by which it intends to establish new FULs that are based on Average Manufacturer Price. The FULs would apply to the vast majority of generic drugs (or “multi-sourced” generics).
CMS has published a series of draft FULs for hundreds of drugs. However, the proposed payment rates require significant adjustment. NACDS and NCPA have objected to the draft FULs, noting that they would pay pharmacies well below their costs of serving Medicaid patients and such cuts could force some pharmacies out of the Medicaid program as well as undermine the incentive to dispense cost-saving generic drugs. Fourteen U.S. Senators and 40 U.S. Representatives have written to CMS in objection to its draft FULs. CMS’ obligation to calculate new FULs was set forth in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“[A]dditional efforts by CMS are necessary to ensure that pharmacies are not reimbursed below their costs using the reimbursement formula created by the Affordable Care Act,” Anderson and Hoey added in their letter. “We urge the agency to utilize the rulemaking process to implement the Medicaid pharmacy provisions in a manner consistent with congressional intent, rather than pursuing policies that would further cut pharmacy reimbursement.”
NACDS and NCPA also noted in the letter that research has shown how prescription drug use and pharmacy services can help reduce healthcare costs; that Medicaid expansion and new healthcare exchanges will drive more demand for healthcare services; and that pharmacists are playing a larger role in healthcare delivery.
“We welcome the opportunity to continue our partnership with CMS on the development of comprehensive Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement policy that maintains the strong link between community pharmacies and Medicaid patients,” Anderson and Hoey noted in conclusion.